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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 14, 2013 9:00am-11:01am EST

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high risk list almost as a to-do list for subcommittee to take turns leading. and also for this committee as well. every your gao promulgates its high risk list. what is a high risk? high risk ways of wasting money, taxpayers money, which is in short supply as you know. one of the things jane holl lute, the last conference deputy secretary used to do, she used to go over to gao. i know she would every week but she went pretty often. she would meet with gene dodaro, comptroller, others who worked for him and would say let's go through your high risk list and lets you what we've got to do to get off of it. they made a whole lot of progress and hopefully later this year the department of homeland security will complete a clean audit and leave us only one large department and that's the department of defense, it's not actually received a clean audit. i want to urge you, and when we
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get a deputy confirmed, hopefully soon, to take to heart what jane holl lute used to be. i'm sure janet napolitano who was secretary did as well. without -- with that having been said let me ask you what you believe to be some of the major management challenges in the department. and what do you see your role as the secretary in adjusting -- addressing those management challenges? >> i've read that gao report. i saw the 31 issues that gao identified. i was pleased to see that, according to gao, dhs is moving in the right direction with respect to these issues and resolving a number of them. in terms of management issues, vacancies, ensuring an efficient
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procurement process, getting an unqualified audited financial statement and dealing with some of the internal controls issues that lead to an unqualified opinion, i also think that with six different accounting systems we need to be sure we have what the financial people call this is intelligence so you can identify things like i'm obligated funds across your bureaucracy. and i think dhs is moving in the right direction but it's only going to continue to move in the right direction if somebody is pushing it and sometimes making people feel uncomfortable about deadlines and about the status quo. and understand that's good leadership, and understand that a bureaucracy is a large come sluggish aircraft carrier that will come if you let it, ma just kind of child alone in a different direction. i think a good leaders need to push it sometimes in different
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directions which can be uncomfortable for a lot of people. >> when you have the opportunity to bring new people on your leadership team who have in some cases a lot of direct contact with gao and the work with gao is doing or has done i would -- it's to make sure that federal departments throughout the federal government don't ignore the work that gao is doing. so i would ask that you fully subscribe to the as well. let's turn and talk about state and local stakeholders. as you know a lot of the work that department of homeland security does involve partnerships, involve cooperation with state and with local governments come and with nonprofits like the red cross. in fact, our nation's homeland security is dependent on these partners. i'm reminded ever of a time i tk with the red cross folks in delaware.
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because they sometimes are first on the scene to respond to disasters and try to help people through tough situations. making sure that these relationships work is an important responsibility of the secretary. and if confirmed let me just ask what some of the steps, what with some steps you take to make sure the department continues to work ever better with the state and local partners? >> i recognize the importance of this, given the nature of the dhs mission, given the nature of the homeland security mission, working effectively with state and local law enforcement, state and local governments, either sector in the border security, national security, homeland security, cybersecurity realms are important. i've been struck by the emphasis that people up here, people within dhs have placed on it.
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and the intention that if i'm confirmed they want me to pay to it. it is pretty apparent to me that it's part of the nation. when i was a federal prosecutor i worked a lot with the new york city police department, not just the federal law enforcement agencies and some a most enduring relationships from those days are with the copts, ma new york city police department that i work with building narcotics cases. so i think i get that. >> good. one more, and that involves -- lax a few weeks ago, where three transportation to get officers, harar girl hernandez, tony grigsby were all shot as you recall during an attack at the airport. sadly mr. fernandez died. left behind a widow and two children and we are deeply troubled by reports that the shooter specifically sought out tsa employees during the attack.
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and i know it's not possible to protect against every threat, every department of homeland security front-line agent, and a bunch of them to face threats, but i believe we should carefully review this incident and see if there's anything we can do to protect tsa employees to let me just give a shout out to tsa. i know to take criticism from a lot of folks. it's our job, a job that they have a good leader in john pistole, and it's our job. are working hard to try to do it better. so they need a little bit, some sympathy for the loss of one of their colleagues and we extended. but i want to say to the folks out there at tsa, under john pistole's leadership are working hard, trying to do the right thing, trying to improve every day, we appreciate that effort and we urge them to keep it up. but if you're confirmed, what we do diminishes the risk, an
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employee could be the target of an attack like the one visited on officer hernandez and his colleagues. >> senator, i read something about that attack that was really upsetting, which was that apparently, allegedly the shooter shot fernandez, left, went up an escalator, and then came back when he realized he wasn't dead and shot him again. that's really bad. and i think that given the visibility of these people, their interaction with the public, we need to look at how to provide for their safety. i don't know that the answer is screened everybody that comes into an airport. that would be a very long line, but i think we need to look at better ensuring their safety. one way or another.
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something i expect i will be focused on if i'm confirmed. >> the family in new jersey knew that something was wrong with their son, and try to reach out i believe to the authorities in the l.a. area. i think someone actually had gone and visited this person's apartment, and he was gone. he had already left and apparently was on his way to the airport. it just reminds me, we don't always agree on gun related issues but think one thing we agree on is one, we don't want guns to be enhance the people were mentally unstable and are likely to use them to harm other people. i think we can agree that. when you do a better job on background checks. and the second thing that comes to mind here is the adage, "if you see something, say something." when you see your roommate, a member of your family is in this
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kind of situation, this kind of condition, you've got to say something, you've got to speak up and not just ignore it or brush it aside. and if that happens maybe soon, this perhaps could have been averted. dr. coburn. >> thank you. i would add my congratulations to john pistole. i think he's made remarkable improvements. we've got a long ways to go, but there is progress being made there. i'll address tom's other issue. our problem with mental illness in this country, we are not handling it. we are limiting practicing physician's ability to notify through the diplomatic -- have a loss. we're to do that when we know in fact somebody is dangerous. -- we are negligent that we are not addressed that as a congress and as a country.
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one of the questions that has surrounded a lot of homeland security spending is whether we spend the money on risk are we spend the money out. it's my feeling that the vast majority of our monies ought to go where the risk is the greatest. what's your thoughts on that? >> i think i agree with that. >> so we ought to be risk-based. we have spent $37 million on grants, which is another high risk program for the department of homeland security. and probably less than 25% of that has gone to the highest risk areas. and part of that is wrote a bit of congress wants to make sure we get our fair share, each parochial representative. but it's a real problem. the president proposed him and i actually agree with his, not very many members of congress agree, of consolidating all the grant programs at dhs.
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i think that's a wise thing to do. and then to base it on risk. what are your feelings about the? >> it's an issue that a number of people have raised with me. how we dispense grant money, it's taxpayer money. i used to be on the board of the committee trust that did nothing to give out grants, and an important part of the job of the fiduciary responsibility was ensuring that once we gave of the money we were making, the recipient is making effective use of the money. i think that in general the professionals who i've consulted over the last couple of weeks seem to feel that we need to move in the direction of a risk-based approach to homeland security. and that probably entails focusing our grant money in the same direction as well. so i would be inclined to agree
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with you if what you're saying is we need to make efficient use of our taxpayer dollars for purposes of homeland security. >> the other part of the grant program that's not present at homeland security is performance metrics, and follow-up and elimination of grants on people who don't perform. the gao has done a lot of work in terms of the unspent fund expenditures and inappropriate expansion. we've highlighted them. i'm sorry, send i ought is that you because new hampshire in one of its small towns has a very cat for its pumpkin festival pay for with the dhs grant. 80,000 bucks that could make a real difference somewhere else with a high risk, it wasn't the they know i'm critical of it but that's kind of a lack of control we have. grant reform is a big deal to me. because i think with the dollars that we're going to spend up to be spent to actually reduce risk rather than to satisfy or make a
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politician look good. i know that's antithetical to some of my colleagues, but that's what we are charged to do. i don't care if oklahoma never gets another dollar of homeland security grants, as long as the dollars better spent are spent on high risk areas. and that's the way it should be. will you work with are committed to reform the grant program, and will you answer my question as far as the president's proposal of consolidating all the grant program's? >> yes, i want to study the issue and i'll answer that, yes or. >> thank you. one other thing that came up in your staff interview that i've some concerns, why not a fad the chance to visit we personally but it was brought to my attention, in your questionnaire responses you said i believe that one of dhs as many counters and priorities should be to better detect what experts call broken travel outside the united states. we must do a better job in
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partnership of foreign governments of tracking or and travelers of suspicious individuals before their return to the united states. when you'r you were asked abouts you asked if you dhs should track individuals under investigation, or high-risk watchlist individuals. and your response was, i'm not necessary referring just to specific individuals. later you added, i would like to add no more from homeland security perspective, worry you have gone while you were a way. and used it for this committee what role you envision for dhs in tracking the travel of u.s. persons at home or abroad that are not on a suspicious list or on the high-risk list? what do you mean by that? >> well, first of all, i may not have -- i probably did not state it as artfully as they could have in the staff interview. i think that there are some real privacy, civil liberties concern
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associate with travel, and i appreciate that. i do recognize that we have a problem when it comes to suspicious individuals wandering their travel. that is a problem, that's a fact. i saw it happen on my watch at dod. i think it is a blind spot. i am not saying, i'm not necessary saying we, therefore, need to insist that we track the travel of any person from every person who leaves this country. i suspect we would have a real of ror. if we tried to do that everybody think this is a blind spot. i think the real problem but it's getting, getting to a better place involves a balance. so i recognize that. >> you have some significant experience with acquisitions. has an effect you alluded to
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senator tester united game is played but if you want a certain vendor to get it, you write them. rfp so only that vendor can get. we have problems across the federal government because some of our most experienced acquisitions specialist are retiring. what do you envision trying to install at homeland security two, number one, improve our acquisition process? number two, hold it accountable? number three, also in terms of id, which is a problem across all the federal government, 50% of what we buy we waste. two and half times worse than that in the private sector. can you come -- comment at all on what you envision of firming up our acquisition protocols and our capabilities, and also holding people responsible for when the club up? >> i think it starts -- flub out. i think us us with quality personnel at the department of defense. i saw this is i is a that sugged that we were losing quality
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personnel in the acquisition community, and and it was reflected in some of the results we have pics i think quality personnel for starters. i.t. is, you know, a world we are getting into, you know, increasing frequency. we've got some issues there across the entire federal government. i recognize the importance of an efficient, quality acquisition program and quality acquisition community for the benefit of the taxpayer. so i know it's something i'm going to have to focus on. i've read enough about some of the problems ths is had over the last 10 years, senator. >> thank you. i'm through. i will have the questions for qfrs. >> one of our colleagues who wasn't with us today is senator landrieu of louisiana whom i know you met with. she's cheering the same time, sharing a hearing on small business committee.
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so she hoped to be able to come and ask some questions and express her support for your nomination. two issues we really haven't drilled down on. one of those is cybersecurity. it's a very important issue and it's one -- i'm not going to drill down into a great extent today, but i talked earlier about homeland security as a team sport. i use the term sport loosely but it is a team effort. cybersecurity is as well. it's not just government, the federal government, it's private sector, state and local as well such as individuals. but the department of homeland security does play on the field as you know, has real responsibilities. we are working with the administration, working with the private sector to try to -- one of the worst things the magician did when the president
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promulgated his executive order on cybersecurity, almost a year ago now was to put in charge -- to reach out to the private sector and especially those that did with critical infrastructure and say what are your best ideas, what do you think the best practices are for protecting tom especially critical infrastructure. and the private sector has been concerned if there's going to be, the government is considering tells them what to do and mandate best practices. the private sector for the most part is not interested. and that they want to be fully involved as partners and i think nist is doing a nice job of that. they're working on framework as you probably know and even the u.s. chamber of commerce which earlier proposed comprehensive immigration reform legislation, it's doing a good job. there are things that department of homeland security needs to
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do. dr. coburn and i and our staff have been working literally for months on this month, -- fisma the ability to attract the kind of skill and talented employees they need in this arena, kind of investments that we should be making in terms of research and development, to better defend ourselves in the cybersecurity space. and also just how do we do a better job of sharing good ideas and making sure that we are prepared should there be an impact on our electric grid, utility systems, telecommunication systems, financial services systems? how do we better protect those critical infrastructure's? the department of homeland security plays in all those arenas. and so once you have a chance to get confirmed and get your feet wet, dr. coburn and i will probably want to spend sometime with you especially to talk about that. and you know we didn't today so
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it's really important as you know. the other thing that you raised a little bit, and i think in one of your comments, talked about lone wolves. i worry about al qaeda. i worry about the affiliates. we all do but i also worry about the folks that become radicalized, home-grown right here, and go off maybe to other countries, maybe don't. and then they come back here and there's -- that's a tough one. that's a tough one to deal with. so that's one of the balls we need to keep our eye on. i'm glad you have. usually when i conclude a hearing like this, i'll ask the witness if they have a closing comment that they might like to make, something that comes to my. even as questions, have had a chance to think what we haven't asked it if you'd like to just make not a long closing statement but a relatively short one, this might be a good time
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to do that and then i will say some words i'm supposed to say at the end of veering. and dr. coburn come if he does anything else, we'll call it a day. by any closing thoughts you would like to share with us. >> thank you for your time and attention. working with your staff to get to today has been a real pleasure. all the staff of this committee have been very professional. i've learned a lot from the courtesy visits i've had with the members of this committee and their staffs. some people think this process is a formality. it's a burden. i actually believe in this process, because from the benefit of the nominee, you learn the issues that congress is concerned about, what's on your mind, what your priorities are. occasionally you were able to extract from the nominee certain pledges, which is probably a
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good thing. you have my attention, and if i'm confirmed, i pledge to have a very open, transparent relationship with the chair and the ranking member and the other members of this committee but i look for to working with you, and i predict, i will dare to predict that after my tenure, people on this committee will say that jay johnson was something that worked well with us in a bipartisan fashion. so i hope you will vote to confirm a. thank you. spent dr. coburn. >> i just have to final comment. one of the things i've noticed in mind years in washington is when we get somebody great in a position, as soon as we have an administration turnover, we lose them. and so one of the things i would like for you to think about, and your family to think about, is as you get into this role, as i know you will, and you become
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excellent at it is that very well consideration of staying there -- if, in fact, there's another administration, 2016 so that we don't lose all this tremendous experience and gray hair and have to read train another leader. so i don't expect you to make a commitment to that but i want to put that in your mind to think about. when we see quality people in quality positions, it shouldn't matter what party they're in if they're doing an effective job, we opted to finish up what they learned and their leadership. and the second comment i would have for you, i told you i would have an alternative viewpoint for you, and i'm going to present what i think it should be your reading to here's some of our thoughts on what's going on it and it's a countervailing view. some of you probably have already read i would appreciate it if you take a look at it and it's what we've looked at on homeland security through the last six years.
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spent unhappy -- >> so i have a present for you. >> thank you, sir. thank you very much. on your first point, at this point that's all them. so thank you. spent i was watching your wife's lips closely as dr. coburn suggested a second tour, and i thought she -- i thought she was saying don't you dare. [laughter] >> i remember when we're having a confirmation hearing for lisa jackson at epa a couple years ago. i said to her, she had children just a little younger than your son and daughter, and i were never i say to her at the end of the hearing, her husband was with them, with her two children, and i said, take a good look, lisa, take a good look at a gym because this is the last time you'll see them until christmas. they kind of flinched. later on i said i was just kidding. they weren't sure. you will see them before christmas are you see them well
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before thanksgiving but this is as we know a demanding job the real important job and dr. coburn leaned over to me earlier in the hearing and he said i think he has the potential to be the best secretary and this apartment we've ever had. that says a lot because you follow some very, very good people. tom coburn doesn't always say that about the people who appear before us. if we can to get confirmed, i'm sure we will be able to, you need to go to work. we need to go to work to get a team around you that you need. and given -- all these requests that you've gotten for my colleagues, you'll need all the help you can get to keep your word on the pledges, the promises that you've made. so there's a lot to do and a lot to do beyond all of that. again, if your mom and dad are after watching us, they've done good in raising the kids. and i am grateful to them come and do you and for your family
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to be here with you today. it's just great to meet all of you. and we will look forward to working, doing good things for our country, security for homeland but really the security of our people. and lasting, people who work at dhs, morale is not good and we're going to work hard to make sure it gets better. when they do a good job to make sure they get some credit for that. and see if we can do a little better job in consolidating folks, you've got people spread out all across the place in washington across the country. want to get some of them on the same campus so they can feel more like a team. mary landrieu, she chairs the appropriations subcommittee for homeland to get a. she is a huge piece of this, and the idea of maybe you, dr. coburn, senator landrieu and myself meeting together from time to time just to see how we are doing and see what we can do better, i think that might be great idea and the folks you lead. all right.
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i am suppose to go to the official closing script. it says i'm supposed to thank you for appearing before our committee today, and i do. it says esther johnson has filed responsive -- mr. johnson, and to present questions debated by the committee and had his financial statement review by the office of ethics. this information would make part of the hearing record with exception of the financial data which is on file and available for the public inspection and the committee offices without objection the record will be kept open until noon tomorrow for the submission of any written question or statement for the record. and as dr. coburn, unless you of anything -- [inaudible] >> all right. i know it's not christmachristma s yet but you'll get other presents. there's probably some good in this one.
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dr. coburn, thank you very much. mr. johnson, good luck and god bless. we are adjourned. [inaudible conversations] >> weekdays feature live coverage of -- on weeknights watch key public policy fans. every weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our website, and you can join in on the conversation on social media sites. >> the senate starts its day and a couple of moments and will continue its work on a bill to broaden the fda's oversight of compounding pharmacy. making it easier for the federal government to track prescription drugs from manufacturers to pharmacies. a probable voice vote to move ahead with a formal consideration of the bill is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. the senate will recess from 1 p.m. until 2:15 p.m. for party
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caucasus meetings. the democrats will be joined by white house officials to discuss the problems with the rollout of health care law. live coverage of the senate now here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, retired admiral barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, who transforms common days into transfiguring and redemptive moments, hallowed be your name. lord, make our lawmakers great enough for these momentous times, as they seek to live worthy of your
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great name. may your precepts keep them from life's pitfalls, guiding them through the darkness to a safe haven. cleanse the fountains of their hearts from all that defiles, so that they may be fit vessels to be used for your glory. let your peace be within them, as your spirit inspires them to glorify you in their thoughts, words and actions. we pray in your wonderful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the
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flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., november 14, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable angus s. king, jr., a senator from the state of meflt, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president, this unique body has the ability to work very quickly when there is cooperation present much it is one of the many special things about this institution. unfortunately, cooperation in recent months has been very,
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very lacking. case in point: one senator has delayed action for more than a month on a bill to ensure the safety of custom medications mixed by pharmacies for patients with unique health needs. mr. president, the reason that 97 senators voted to move this legislation is because 64 people died, 800 were made very, very sick with some of them very sick. they had strokes and other medical issues because of this irresponsibility and the negligence of this company in massachusetts. a lawsuit was filed recently in nevada. two young boys were allegedly impacted significantly as a result of this medication that was really bad medication. unless the entire united states
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senate bends to that one senator's wish -- the one that voted "no" -- he will force this body to jump through hoops and work through the next several days wasting time to finish this crucial drug safety bill. but we're going to finish the bill. we're going to finish that bill. it's important for our country, and i can't let one senator dictate what goes on here in the senate. mr. president, following leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business for two hours. republicans will control the first half, and the majority will control the final half. following that morning business, we will vote on the adoption of the motion to proceed to h.r. 3204, the pharmaceutical drug compounding bill. this is expected to -- i hope that in fact is the case. if thats case that is the case,e will said to what will happen
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subsequent to thasm th that. the senate will recess from 1:00 to 2:15 for an important meeting that we're having. i know both the majority and minority are holding important meetings today. there is no action to complete the compounding bill today. but i hope we can do that. the presiding officer: under the previous order, leader time is reserved. under the previous order, there will be a period of morning business for two hours, with the republicans controlling the first half. the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, by now i'm sure every member in this chamber has received literally countless letters, e-mails, and phone calls from the millions -- millions -- of americans who've been hurt by obamacare. i recently saw a press release from the senior senator from california saying that she's heard from more than 30,000
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constituents facing skyrocketing costs or canceled plans. each story is unique. each story is important. and that's why this morning senate republicans will share some of those stories to put a human face to those who've suffered as a result of the democrats' decision to force this law on our country. i'll start off with james dodson, a constituent of mine from owensboro. james has type 2 diabetes. he recently got a letter informing him that his high-risk pool coverage would expire next month. he says, a replacement plan on the obamacare exchange will cause his premiums to spike from $676 to more than $1,000 a month. and here's the question he asked
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me: where are the savings? where are the savings the democrats promised three years ago? james' story is another reminder why it's time for democrats to work with us to repeal this law and start over with bipartisan reform. my constituent james is counting on them, and so are millions of of others across the country suffering under this law. now, i understand my friend from texas has something he'd like to share. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, earlier this month i launched a web site where my constituents in texas could describe their experiences with obamacare. as of this morning, that site has received more than 500 submissions, and the stories are simply maddening. take, for example, barry linden. he's currently waiting for an organ transplant. but because of obamacare, his health insurance policy is being canceled, which could jeopardize
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his ability to access that transplant. as mr. linden writes, losing his health care plan, "is a potential life-ending tragedy for me and my family. thcreates a variety of complaiks including my transplantation and team." the most troubling thing is that insurance will have to recertify my transplant. in other words, he'll have to start all over again. meanwhile, i've also heard from another constituent in lubbock, texas, whose 13-year-old daughter has type 1 diabetes. she'she is had itshe's had it s. their family is happy with their policy. because of obamacare they were recently notified that their daughter's health insurance is being canceled in december. stories like this, mr. president, are simply infuriating, and they're unnecessary.
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but they should strengthen our resolve to dismantle obamacare entirely and replace it with patient-centered alternatives. i yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president, the news out of south dakota is like it is everywhere else. it is all bad, cancellation notices and sticker shock that families, individuals, small businesses are experiencing. this is a letter from a couple that i received from my state. it says "we got the letter, we just received a cancellation letter from our health care provider. i am a self-employed plumber. we've had the same kind of health insurance for years. it works for us. we're happy with it. when our current plan expires in 2014, we'll be forced to get a new plan, pay our own deductible. my wife is 50 years old. i'm almost there.
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we don't need coverage for pregnancy or pediatric care. our new policy will cost us over 100% more than what we pay now. we will not be able to afford it. i guess we'll have to pay the obama tax and take our chances. president obama said we could keep our plan." this is another example from my state. cancellations and sticker shock. that's the experience that americans are having today with obamacare. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: the "tennessean" reported that the state's largest underwriter is notifying 66,000 clients their policies don't meet a.c.a. coverage requirements. in other words, they are a losig that's policies. i have a letter from a woman named emily who was one of 16,000 tennesseans who is part of another plan called cover
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ten. she says, aim 39 years old, a single woman, chronic illness, lupus. i worked my way through college. a person with a chronic illness thafsz deemed uninsurable, the only way i was able to obtain health insurance is through an employer-based program called cover ten. some call it minimum coverage. it has been affordable for meevment i was excited about the affordable health care act. glad to hear that uninsurables could be covered. but that's not true. i cannot keep my plan because it doesn't meet the standards of coverage. this alone is a travesty. cover ten has been a lifeline. with the discontinuation of it, i am being forced to purchase a plan that increases my costs by staggering 410%. out-of-pocket expense will increase by more than $,000 a year. please help me understand how this is affordable? i beg of you to continue the fight for those like me who would only ask to be allowed to continue to have what we already
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enjoy. a fair health insurance plan at a fair price. that's emily, a 39-year-old woman from tennessee. thank you, mr. president. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snrr iowa. mr. grassley: if you like your health plan, you can keep it. it is a nice sound bite, isn't it? but it's also not true. my constituents have learned that the very hard way. like this one from perry, eye ia who wrote, "my husband and i are farmers. for nine years now we have bought our own possments we recently received a letter that our ambulance going away and effective january 1, 2014, we will be updated to comply with the mandates of obamacare. we did not get to keep our current policy. we did not get to keep our lower rates. i now have to payer to coverage that i do not want and probably
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will never use. we're the small business owners that are trying to live the american dream. i do not believe in large government that wants to run my life." end of quote. this failed promise is hitting home. but, more importantly, when the president promises something and doesn't keep that promise, it goes way beyond a promise to hurt an individual; it goes to the lack of credibility of all government. and what we need to be doing in this country is building up credibility of government, to strengthen our institutions of government. i yield the floor. mr. crapo: mr. president, i join my colleagues on the floor today because i, like many of them, have many, many upset constituents. idahoans are finding out that the president's promise to the american people that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it, simply was not true. over 100,000 idahoans will find
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that they cannot keep their current plans. idahoans like jennifer are finding this out the same way. jennifer is a working, self-employed mother of three, whose current health care coverage costs her family $375 a month. now jennifer is being told that her current plan is no longer available under the president's health care law and that the next available plan to her family will cost $900 per month, with a $10,000 deductible. that plan will require jennifer to spend $20,000 a year between premiums and deductibles before she has benefit coverage. then there's kelley, another hardworking mother from boise who was promised affordable health care coverage under obamacare. optimistic to enroll, kelley and her husband looked to sign, only to find the plans available to their family were unfoorbled and, thus, unaccessable venal the health care law was sold on the promise they's it would help families like kel kelley's.
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those struggling month to month to obtain affordable health insurance. instead, kelley and her husband are now considering taking the penalty fine for being uninsured under the new law, as it is a more feasible option for their family at this time. there are e kennelly and jennifer in idaho and across the country dealing with new hardships as a result of this law. the president needs to work with congress to find reasonable solutions to amend the many broken promises made about this law. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: beth from tribune, kansas, is a single mother with a three-year-old son with significant physical disabilities. her son's insurance has been canceled. to replace his policy with a similar plan is going to cost far more than the $750 monthly premium beth does pay now. she writes how can this be? my little boy needs health
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insurance. now our insurance company is telling us this policy no longer exists because it doesn't meet the government requirements. and if we'd like to get another plan, it's going to cost even more for the same child. we didn't change children. it's the same child. this doesn't make sense. we frequently visit multiple specialists. we need this insurance. it baffles me as to why this is happening. it's not rocket science. it's health care. obamacare is affecting the people that need it the most and not in a good way. it's very stressful raising a child with a significant needs. i'd like to be concentrating on the health and well-being of my son and not on stressing out 0 over health insurance. for beth and her son, we must repeal this law. i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. chambliss: my state of
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mississippi will have the -- mr. wicker: my state of mississippi will have the third highest premiums in the nation as a result of the affordable care act. this is uncomfortable from my state and i'm hearing from my constituents about this. for example, a married couple in long beach who owns a small business, the private insurance plan they have offered to their employees for over 20 years will suffer a 33% premium increase on december 1. their insurer cited the coverage fees and taxes for increased premiums. the couple will continue to insure their employees because if they were to discontinue this, their employees and families would suffer because they would not be able to afford individual plans. i've also heard from a 50-year-old graphic designer from madison, mississippi, who received a letter from his insurance provider stating his insurance premiums will double
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at the beginning of the year from $355 to $755. this gentleman is understandably angry about his premium increase. he understands that his insurance will now cover mandated benefits like maternity care and birth control, something he will never use as a 58-year-old male. i've also heard from a 51-year-old disabled retired doctor, earlier this week he was informed by his insurance provider that his family's premiums will skyrocket in january. he since discovered that the least expensive coverage for his family will result in a 112% increase in his premiums. and after hours on the trying to enroll his family, a firefighter, a father and a husband discovered that the cheapest plan, a bronze plan, will be too exorbitant a
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cost for him to pay. he will opt to pay the penalty. he and his family will remain uninsured. mr. president, these are real americans who are learning that the affordable care act is less affordable and less accessible. i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: we all know over five million americans lost their health care and can't keep the health care they wanted. the untold tragedy are millions more being priced out of the market by the increases caused by obamacare. i want to read an e-mail from rob and jessica from georgia that i think depicts what that tragedy is. my husband lost his job in the recession. he could not find work so we started our own business and have grown it over the last three years so that we are supporting ourselves with a modest income. we lost all our savings in the process of the recession and building the business, but we are proud from where we've come to where we're going. we're in our 40's healthy and insured. we just received a letter from
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our insurance company that our insurance will be going up 244%, from $203 a month to $495 a month in 2014. we cannot believe our government has made a decision that is costing us and everyone we talk to thousands of dollars. it is truly unbelievable. we have worked so hard to get where we are now and cannot afford this increase. obamacare is pricing the average american out of their health care. i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: i rise to discuss the impact obamacare is already having on constituents likewise, as my colleague said, in my home state of georgia. one of my constituents, genie, from twin city, georgia, is a registered nurse at a small hospital. her husband is a retired navy officer who served this country honorably for 20 years. they are on tricare so jeanie didn't need her employer but now
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her employer is cutting her hours to 20 hours a week which means a drastic pay cut for her and her family. i fear obamacare will continue to force employers to reduce employee hours in order to avoid the unaffordable health care costs. thomas from columbus told me about the problem he's facing with his son. his son graduated from college but like so many his age has been unable to find a job in this tough economy. the son works hard to make ends meet and was lucky to find a bar tending position that would allow him to work full time. service industry professionals, normally as in the case of thomas' son, receive benefits, so thomas bought his son a catastrophic insurance plan that they could afford. now it looks certain that this plan is not going to be acceptable under obamacare. so his son will not qualify for medicaid but will not be able to afford the premiums that he will now have to pay for this catastrophic policy. our economy is still recovering, and americans are still
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struggling. thomas and jeanie are exactly the type of hardworking americans that health care reform should be making life easier for and not harder. it's time for the president and democrats to join us in scrapping this law and starting anew. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: mr. president, a few weeks ago we opened up our web site to nebraskans so they could tell us what they were dealing with with obamacare. i heard from a family in grand island, nebraska. this is what they say: obamacare has made the prospect of getting sick very scary in our house. our monthly premium is set to go up $578 to $714. it's not bad enough our maximum out-of-pocket will go from $5,000 to $12,700. mr. president, this family is facing a 24% increase in
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premiums and a whopping 154% increase in their out-of-pocket maximum. the letter goes on to say that's not affordable. in fact, if a member of my family were to get sick and need hospitalization, we'd be in major financial trouble. not only that, but we only qualify for a $6 credit. it really feels as if those -- it really feels as though those of us who work hard, do the right thing and set good examples for our children are now being punished. unquote. mr. president, it is time to stand with the american people and actually fulfill our promises and repeal this law. i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president.
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mr. president, thousands of mainers are receiving notices that their health insurance is being canceled due to obamacare. this past weekend i talked with mark pendergas, the owner of a small landscaping company who just found out that the premiums for his small business plan will jump by 54% next year due to obamacare. he can't pay that and stay competitive. and his workers can't afford it either. their share of the premium will go up by $740 next year. mark's worried that they'll simply drop their coverage and pay the fine instead. mark and his workers are not the only mainers hurt by obamacare. mrs. beatrice logan of cape elizabeth, maine, e-mailed me to
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express her deep concern that her family is facing an increase in their deductible from $4,500 to $12,000. moreover, she's being told that they may not be able to continue with the health care team at boston's children's hospital that has provided a lifetime of excellent care to her 19-year-old son who has cystic fibrosis. dave eshelman of fall mouth told me he and his wife are facing more than a 90% increase in premiums. having to spend an additional $5,000 a year in health insurance is no small matter to them at a time when they are struggling to start a small business. mr. president, one of the major reasons that i strongly oppose the affordable care act was that there was nothing affordable
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about it. i predicted it would lead to fewer choices and higher insurance costs for middle-income families and small businesses. congress must work together to address the very real health care concerns of the american people and the budget realities we face. appealing obamacare's poorly crafted and misguided mandates and replacing the law with a fiscally responsible reform bill that contains costs and provides more choices is the best path forward. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: gina salas, a mother of two girls, a wife and wisconsin native. she and her husband currently
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purchased health insurance on the individual market. their best option under obamacare increases their monthly premium by $700 and the deductible by $12,000 per year. this is after an annual obamacare subsidy of $48. because they both work, gina and joe make too much money to obtain an adequate subsidy but not enough to afford health insurance. so what can they do? gina has looked for full-time job that provides health benefits, but those jobs are pretty scarce. her only option may be to quit working altogether so they qualify for a larger subsidy. because of obamacare, gina might lose a career she loves and america might lose a much-needed nurse. in gina's words, "this scenario is life-altering. my husband and i are at a loss for what we can do." i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. mr. enzi: many people supported obama's health care law based on promises. those words don't mean much now to people receiving cancellation notices. in wyoming alone there are over 2,600 people who are losing health care coverage they liked. i received numerous letters from my constituents illustrating the scope of this problem. greta from laramie is one of them. greta is in graduate school and paying for tuition out of pocket. she had the university student bluecross blueshield insurance plan. in september her husband received notice that their family insurance policy was gone. they were happy with their coverage. greta said their plan had very good coverage of maternity and well-child visits, low deductibles and an affordable
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monthly premium. her family can't afford a new health insurance plan which according to her costs more and gives me less. that's what we're facing as a nation. health care plans we can no longer keep and broken promises from the white house. the president misinformed the american people when he said, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. just last week he said the democrats didn't do a good enough job crafting the law. to me, that sounds like a law that should have never been passed. we must continue to push for repeal of this law of broken promises and work on alternative solutions that really do what the people were promised. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: sonya and jake, her husband are from troy, missouri. she contacted me to tell me when her husband quit his job a few years ago to start his own business, they, of course when that happened lost their employer coverage, but they were
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able to go check on health care coverage for the self-employed and they found what they thought was a really doable policy for them. they're young, they're healthy, they have six kids but they are all pretty healthy. they were paying $400 a month with a $5,000 deductible, 100% coverage after the $5,000. their preventive care was already covered but of course their policy just got canceled because it didn't meet the obamacare guidelines. their insurance company tells them to get the same kind of coverage with the new guidelines, they're going to pay 125% more than they've been paying. their insurance more than doubled. their plan may not have been good enough for the new guidelines, but it was good enough for them. when the government begins to tell people what they have to have, that almost always costs people more. and also we're seeing the high risk pool in our state and every state go away. i'm having all kinds of people saying their insurance is going to cost more, their deductible
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is higher, and more -- and, many times, the doctor that's been part of their health care challenge right up until now is no longer available to thesm so much for, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i think it is great we have the opportunity to come to the ploor to tal floor t what you are constituents are telling us. last night i had a telehall meeting. each meeting we do a poll. every single time it's been jobs and the economy, until last night. last night it was health care. that's because most of the questions i got were about health care coverage and people concerned about losing it. let me read a letter from one of citizens units, and it is indicative of what i am hearing all around the state. this is from dean. he lives in sandusky, ohio.
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"ever since i lost my job in 2009, i have been purchasing my own health care insurance. last month i received a letter from the mail stating that my plan is being canceled due to the a.c.a. i was told to look at plans on the exchange, which i did, and i found a comparable plan that is over twice the cost of what i have now. in addition, this is over half of my monthly pension. i simply can't afford this. i've always been a responsible, hardworking, self-dependent person. now due to the actions of our government, for the first time in my life, i have not have any health insurance coverage. i am 59 years old and i need this coverage. i'm outraged to say the least how can our government do this to us? i will remember this come election time. please get rid of this insane law. this is unacceptable." well, to dean and my other constituents, i agree wuvment it is unacceptable. we should repeal the law. it doesn't make sense and then replace it with reforms that
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actually reduce the cost of health care and keep the promise the president made, which is that people can keep the health care that they have. mr. coats: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president, the president has publicly promised all americans, if you like your plan, you can keep it. if you like jur your doctor, yon keep your doctor. the only chaij chaij a see areg costs. well, senior citizens are not supposed to be affected by this obamacare. she received a letter telling that she and her husband no longer could keep their medicare advantage plan. it was terminated. so they found another plan, much higher cost, much higher premium, much higher deductible. cynthia from la fee yet,
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indiana, i' i am i am-employed d purchase health care separately. i am a single parent with a child in high school. i was given -- my plan was canceled and i was given an estimate for a replacement plan almost double of what i'm paying today. mr. president, you have not kept your promises for seniors. you have not kept your promise to single working mothers. you have not kept your promise to families. you've not kept your promise to the people that i represent. how can americans trust that this government takeover will work if you can't keep your promises to the american people? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. h.o.v. in north dakotmr. hoevena we've got a lot of farmers and ranchers. thethey run a small business and they're being hit very hard by
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obamacare, like other small businesses across this country. a rancher contacted us. his name is wayne, and he ranches there. it is an area where we have a lot of cowboys, a tremendous rodeo. they compete nationally and they have great livestock herds there. but he writes, and he says, quks i'm not one to get too upset about things but this really has my mad. we go to a letter a few weeks ago that said they were dropping our policy. i i have paid my own insurance for years and years. when i got that letter, it just hit me because somebody in washington decided i was too stupid to figure it out if my policy was right for me or not. i don't pay a lot of attention to politics, but usually what gets decided in washington doesn't slap you in the face like this law has with me," he
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says. l "i've gone on and used the estimators they direct you to. i could be going from a $2,500 deductible to something like $10,000 and $12,000 the way it looks to me. this is going to cost me a lot more for something i don't even want." i'd like to read another short story from a couple in grand forks that got a notice on a marriage penalty that obamacare creates. she writes in "my husband and i met with the primary health insurance carrier in tornlg norh dakota and were told that our current coverage under the guidelines of the affordable care act will cost us at least another $400 a more a month and our deductible will increase from $2,000 to $12,000.
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and because we're married, we cannot choose individual plans, which would be a lower deductible. in essence, we're being punished for being married. we are looking at paying more than $1,500 a month in health care because we are only 61 years old and not eligible for medicare for another four years. $18,000 a year for health care. we were told that part of the problem is the provisions in the law require us to choose a plan that has maternity benefits. how does this make sense for seniors to be forced to buy coverage that does not apply to them? we agree that benefits should not be denied to peernling peopt it's not fair to be forced to buy coverage that doesn't even apply."
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mrs. fischer: i rise to speak on behalf of nearly 3,000 nebraskans who have contacted my office with their concerns about obamacare. their stories are, unfortunately, not unique. skyrocketing premiums and cancellation of plans, that they were promised that they could keep. curt from lincoln, nebraska, wrote to tell me he has seen his bluecross blueshield premium rise a shocking 300%. david, a father living in omaha, is face ago potential total increase of $16,000 a year for his family's coverage. $16,000. another constituent from bertrand, nebraska, will see his family's deductible more than double next year.
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how is this the affordable care act? an apology now won't help the hardworking nebraskans who have lost or who will soon lose their current coverage. one constituent wrote, "folks shouldn't need a second mortgage to pay for obamacare." i agree. i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: as the senator from wyoming, i get home every weekend, talk to peevment i was home this weekend for veterans day, and i was in the target store in casper, ran into a small business owner, has a small electric company that he runs, has about four people that work with him. he is somebody i was operated on, a former patient of mine. he told me that i was one of those 4 million americans who had gotten that letter that he had lost his insurance. he said, you know, the president promised that this would be easier to use than said, i can't get on. he said it would be cheaper than
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your cell phone bill. that's not the caissments the president said if you like what you have, you can keep it. clearly not the case. what's wrong with this? how can we fix it? i got another letter from a rancher, from new castle, wyoming. "we're ranchers, we're ranchers who buy our own health insurance. currently, we pay $650 a month for an 80-20 policy with a $3,500 dfnlt our maximum out-o out-of-pocket for family is $10,000 a year we don't carry maternity insurance because we've completed our family. i've had a hysterectomy. i recently called my insurance agent out of fear our policy would be canceled. he said it would be canceled at the renewal time. he told me that their policy didn't meet obama's requirement because of maternity coverage and they had aide have to choose a policy from the exchaifntle" remember, she's had a
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hysterectomy. she doesn't want or need or ever going to use maternity coverage. her insurance company quoted her rates to about $1,600 a month. they're now paying $650. the insurance agent also told me that they could take a bronze policy much less coverage than they currently have for $900, still $250 a month higher than they'd have to pay. but the out-of-pocket costs then was much higher, much more difficult for the family. she said, we're being forced tououtof a good policy which wey for with hard-earned money and which we choose into a dangerous financial health care situation with less coverage and which puts my husband and i, who are proud of our sustainability, on to what we consider the welfare rolls by needing a government subsidy to afford a plan that we don't want or neesmed t need. to say that we're angry is an understatement.
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we feel helpless. what are we supposed to do, just follow like sheep until we're either bankrupt or welfare recipients? this is not what the president of the united states promised the american people. it is not what every democrat in this body who voted for this health care law promised the american people. the american people deserve better. they deserve to be able to get the dhair they nee care that tha doctor they choose at lower costs. none of that has come true under this health care law. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. cochran: mr. president? the presiding officer: the sno car from mississippi. mr. cochran: the more my constituents learn about the administration's so-called affordable care act, the more it becomes clear that major changes should be considered. i recently heard from a constituent who had learned from accessing the obama administration's enrollment web site that the plan with the lowest cost available to him has
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a $7,000 yearly deductible, with a $12,000 out-of-pocket maximum and a premium of a little over $2,400 a month, nearly twice as much as he and his wife currently pay. this family is just one example of millions of americans who are suffering from sticker shock because of the cost of insurance plans on the president's new health insurance exchanges. the shock is made worse for those who are being rejected by the plans that they were told they could keep but now cannot. it's clear we need to urge the administration to consider going back to the drawing board. we should get together, too, here in the senate and find common ground that makes better sense for the american people.
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the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. a senator: thank you, mr. president. for the last three years we've heard president obama and our friends on the left, promise -- no, guarantee -- that obamacare will make health care insurance more affordable. but day after day we see costs going up for hard-, working families all across our country, not just the richest 1%, but middle-class americans. last week i heard from emily geiger, a wife and mother of three in charleston, south carolina, whose health insurance costs are seeing double-digit increases. mr. president, these are the faces of real people impacted by obamacare. they're not stats, they're not numbers, they don't get waivers, they're taxpayers, middle-income
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taxpayers. and obamacare is forcing many to choose between saving for college for these three little kids and paying for health care. they shouldn't have to choose. obamacare and are words we now know are synonymous with failure. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: i'd like to tell the story of a constituent that e-mailed me representative of what thousands are going through in arkansas. this mark from little rock. he wrote me after receiving his cancellation notice. here's what he had to say. "i recently received from bluecross blueshield that my individual health insurance policy will not be renewed after 2014 due to obamacare. although i am very happy with this policy, i'm being forced out of it after 2014.
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the alternative options of the affordable care act are not very affordable. the closest alternative plan will increase my deductible 25% and increase my monthly premiums 300% from $285 a month to $850 a month." mark goes on to note his current plan is bluecross which he describes is not a bad-apple provider and that he will be required to pay for the entire cost of this new plan out of pocket. these are all very serious problems with the program. certainly mark is not alone. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, i recently received a letter from cathleen stephan of fletcher, north, who wrote me to describe her experience with the affordable care act and the impact on her health care. i'd like to read her letter versus to paraphrase it. she said "dear senator burr: i
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recently received a notice from bluecross blueshield of north carolina that my health insurance policy will be canceled effective january 1, 2014, because it does not meet all the mandates under obamacare. my current premium is $418 a month. the replacement policy being recommended to me will cost $928 a month, a 122% increase, and i don't qualify for subsidies. i have had continuous coverage with bluecross blueshield for many years, and i like my current plan. i'm a 62-year-old woman and will not benefit from the mandatory additions to my plan such asthma terpbt coverage -- such as maternity coverage, newborn and pediatric care. in the past having additional coverage provided a sense of security that my rates could not be raised based on a change in my health status. i experienced such a change in 2012 when i was diagnosed with
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breast cancer and underwent seven months of treatment. now my rates are more than doubling. the security is gone not because of the change in my health but because of obamacare. when president obama was selling the affordable care act to the american people, he repeatedly promised if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. period. i'm writing to you today to tell you that i do like my plan, and i want to keep it. i'm asking for fairness for myself and for the estimated millions of other americans who have had their plan taken away by obamacare. sincerely cathleen stephan." mr. president, how do i answer cathleen's letter? i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. risch risch mr. president, every -- mr. risch: every one of us can tell thousands of stories. mine would come from a gentleman
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named clint w., a small business owner, received notice he wasn't grandfathered, was being canceled, premiums went to $1,200, he says he can't afford it and canceled the policy so he could save money for future medical expenses, and he's going to stay canceled as long as he possibly can. you know what struck me about this? i didn't get a lot of letters from poor people. i didn't get a lot of letters or contacts from rich people. where my contacts came from was middle-class america, which is what this country is. we are a middle-class country by and large, with a small sliver of rich people at one end and some people that are deserving of our help at the other end, but who are primarily affected by this are the middle class of america. my good friends on the other side try to claim that they are the party that represents the middle class of america. i don't know if they're getting
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the same letters that we are, but if they are they realize that they've done something horrible. they didn't do a plan here to help disadvantaged which the republican party has always helped with. what they have done is a social experiment which is collect ivism and socialism at its worst 0. it is offer kwrus it is a failure. -- it is obvious it is a failure. the american people over 200 years built up a successful insurance system and health care system in america and in three years this thing has been destroyed. there's 44 days left to make this thing work. if this isn't done right there's going to be a collapse come january 1, and the american people are going to know exactly who caused it. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president, one of the things that hasn't been discussed is the impact obamacare is having on medicare and medicare part-b -- medicare
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beneficiaries. in florida we have a significant number of people that are medicare beneficiaries and medicare advantage. my mom is a medicare advantage patient. i wanted to read briefly if i could a letter i received from a constituent of mine named michelle hatly who lives in destine, florida, which is in northwest florida. it is a letter she received regarding her existing doctors. she also got a letter from one of her providers that talks about the changes. let me read you the e-mail. she sent this. here's a copy of the letter i received from white wilson medical group. as i indicated in our conversation, sacred heart might be also affected. my medicare advantage plan was the medicare completeer thrup aarp and united healthcare. three of my doctors are with white wilson and three are with sacred heart.
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my rheumatologist who directs my treatment for two autoimmune conditions is with sacred heart and the only rheumatologist in destine. i'm legally blind so transport to another doctor out of town is difficult to arrange and expensive. of the plans that are available that will allow me to keep my doctors the annual out-of-pocket are significantly higher as well as deductibles, patient, prescription drugs and in patient care. my choice has been reduced to find all new doctors or enrolling in a different medicare advantage plan which will cost more. i wanted the senators to be aware that medicare clients are experiencing negative consequences from a.c.a. as well. since that time after this experience she has been able to find a plan that helps her avoid all six of her doctors including the five specialists and her primary care physician. this new plan is going up to an expected $9, 500.
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it was a tough decision for her to make but she ultimately decided to pay more money in order to keep seeing her doctors that have been treating her for the past four to six years. this is a real-life story of a medicare advantage recipient in this country whose out-of-pocket costs are going up because of obamacare. it is wrong. it is unfair. it should not stand. i yield the floor. ms. ayotte: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: thank you, mr. president. i came to the floor yesterday to share so many stories that i'm receiving from my constituents about them receiving cancellations for policies that they wanted to keep, higher premiums under this law. each story is very sad, and i feel badly for the people of my state and across this country who are suffering under this law. my constituents are pleading for relief. here's just one example. a small business from peterb0oro, new hampshire, who voted for president obama twice
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told me her family has a household income of $50,000, and their total health insurance will now cost over $19,000 for the year. which is more than their more than. and their local hospital isn't even on the exchange because in new hampshire we only have one insurer on the exchange and 10 of our 26 hospitals have been excluded from that exchange. this constituent from peterboro wrote to me, "we are frustrated, afraid and angry beyond words. i urge a postponement of implementation of the affordable care act while those with the power look harder at the average american and come up with a better plan. life shouldn't be this hard." mr. president, citizens from across new hampshire and this country are crying out for relief. i hope the president will listen to them and call a time-out on this law so that we can come together and rather than what was done in this chamber --
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passing a partisan law -- come together for bipartisan health care solutions. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: it's hard to narrow down the best story to tell. they are all bad stories, all terrible stories. but kansans too are struggling under the consequences of the passage of the affordable care act, and it bothers me so many times, it's suggested that this is just a problem with implementation. but the problems that americans and kansans are facing today really is the crux, the underlying basis for the provisions of the affordable care act. this is not a problem just with implementation. it is not just a computer problem. it's the theory on which the affordable care act was based. an example i'd like to describe to my colleagues in the senate is from a constituent in newton, kansas, right in the center of the state. he writes to tell me that we were notified by our health insurance carrier that our premiums on our small business
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plan were to increase 24% on our renewal date because of the coverage mandated by the affordable care act starting in 2014. as a small business owner in our late 50's, we have struggled to find affordable health care insurance for years. about two years ago we were able to sign up for a plan offered to small businesses through a well-known carrier. it's not a cadillac plan since we each had a $5,000 deductible and no coverage for maternity we didn't need, contraception we didn't need, but it covered the things we wanted and we did need. unfortunately the premium increase is going to put this plan in the unaffordable range once again. i've not yet been able to get on the few times i've tried it's either been down or locked up during access. as a business owner with employees and responsibilities, the time i have to spend messing around with a slow or
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nonresponsive web site is limited and expensive. mr. president, our constituents need help, and the affordable care act is what they need help from. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: the president promised the american people if you like your doctor you can keep him or her. promised if you like your insurance, you can keep it. but he needs to tell annie mangione and his family why they can't keep their insurance. they had an individual policy they were happy with. they paid $300 a month. they are now going to be asked to pay $900 a month for things they don't want and they didn't choose to have. this isn't really just about health care. this is about freedom of choice. this is about whether or not you can choose what type of insurance you want. the question is what's next? what choices will be taken from us? i'm going to be signing up for obamacare.
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i tried yesterday 15 times. i wasn't able to get beyond create an account because every time i pushed create an account, nothing happened. this is a real problem. five million people without insurance. the president said if you can keep your insurance, you should be allowed to. you can keep your doctor. something has to be done because the mangione family is going to have to pay three times as much for an insurance policy they don't want. we're taking their freedom of choice away. i for one say enough's enough. let's get rid of this. let's give back freedom to the consumer, give back freedom to kentucky families. in kentucky, ten times more families have been canceled than have actually gotten on. something has to give. mr. president, if you said we can keep our doctor, come forward and tell us why we can't keep our doctor. thank you very much.
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mr. cruz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, millions across this country are losing their health care, are losing their doctors because of obamacare. in texas this past week, the office of american statesmen reported austin's largest provider of cancer treatment won't participate in the health insurance plans offered through the marketplace set up by the affordable care act. and indeed, they went on to quote "obamacare looked like sunshine on the horizon, and now it's a tornado." said one austin ao*eutd -- austinite who has breast cancer and is being treated at text oncology. in an upcoming issue texas
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medicines reference as survey by the medical group management association that says uncertainty has 40% of physician practices across the country pondering their participation in marketplace-based insurance plans. and by reducing their risk, texas oncology is passing a burden on to some already-stressed families, said seth winick. "it is an unwelcome burden and could seriously affect thousands of families who deal with cancer in our communities." if his family is forced to pay out of network rates to treat his wife, ha the family will hae to make some tough decisions. "we will make the financial sacrifice to purchase the best care we can afford and we hope is enough." but he continued, he had nothing positive to say about the people
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who provide care at texas oncology, but he also said, "expand health care coverage to people who don't have it is a noble goal, but the impact that has on those of us who do have it remains to be seen." folks in the individual market don't really know what is in store. mr. president, president obama promised the american people, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. we noi knowe now know that prom. obamacare isn't working and it is time to start over. knack flakmr. flake: all of us e heard from hundreds of our constituents over the past few weeks who have had their insurance policies canceled or made unaffordable. i want to talk about greg, who i
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heard from earlier this week. greg and linda are in their late 50's, early 60's. they know what kind of policy they need. at the know what they don't need. they had a premium of about $400 under their old policy. they paid $440, to be exact. the new plan that they've been able to find that matches most closely with what they have now, after their other policy was canceled, would cost them just over $1,000, $1,055 to be impact. how is that affordable? the president promised, if you like your plan, you can keep it. if you like your doctor, you can keep it. -- him or her, period. that's not been the case. the president needs to explain to greg and linda and to hundreds of thousands of other arizonans who have losing their health coverage how it is that he sthaid they could keep it and at the now can't.
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i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snr from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, the president of the united states promised, if you like your plarntion you can keep it. we now all know that that simply wasn't true. though many of us have been saying this for years, many americans, including many in my state, are realizing the pain of the president's false statement. dave from utah says, my company just dropped the good insurance plan we've had for years due to obamacare. the affordable care act is costing me more money. i'm barely able to keep my family out of poverty, and now health care is going to cost me even more. please do something to change this. marcy from utah says, we own a small business in utah and we will be forced to cancel our insurance and ourselves go on obamacare. we can start over with a new way to fix our health care system,
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but starting over doesn't necessarily have to mean starting from scratch. we should take those lessons that we've learned and we should build around the concept of a market-driven, patient-centered health care system, one that empowers individual americans to choose their own health insurance based on their own personal needs and based on their own preamps. p than-- and based on their own preferences. thank you, mr. president. mr. graham: i have two stores stories that i have i'll quickly share. scott from goose creek, i am a college professor at a private university. we're up for our insurance open enrollment and i'm 35 imreers old, vegetarian, never smoked, ridiculously low blood pressure and cholesterol. oivelg obviously i have nothingn common with scott. "my premiums went up by 35% to 40%. my actual policy changed.
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my deductibles tripled. i cannot get regular monthly prescriptions at my pharmacy now. i'm sure there are other changes that i have not examined close enough to notice." tom thomas dugan from south carolina. after submitting his personal information on received a phone call from mr. just inhadley, a north carolina resident, who informed him that when he signed on to, he received all of mr. and mrs. dugal's personal information. this is beginning to be a very famous case. 572 people have been enrolled in obamacare in the state of south carolina. mr. president, obamacare is not working and i fear it will never work, and the best way to fix it is to repeal it and replace it with something that will work. i yield the floor. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, to
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chamber that only substandard policies were allowed is a lie.
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the plan that i was on is a good policy. unquote. she does not trust the new web site and feels that there is not adequate security to protect our personal information. in her words, "i wouldn't touch the exchange with a ten-foot pole." she is not alone in feeling this way, which spells trouble for these new health care exchanges and for the pleas' the presidenh law. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the republican time is expired. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, we have seen an array of my republican colleagues come to the floor, which is their right, and i'm glad the government is open so they had their stay staff to help them prepare their speeches. this is typical of the republicans when this comes to health care. all they do is criticize and not
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one -- not one, because i monitored the speeches, gave one new idea of how to make sure that our citizens are protected with the insurance they have or how to insure the 48 million uninsured americans. not one. but this is the way the republican party has been for years. let's look at what happened when medicare came to the senate floor and to the house floor. medicare -- medicare, which is one of the most beloved programs, 60% of republicans in the senate and 50% of house republicans voted against medicare in 1965. representative durward hall, a republican of missouri, said, "we cannot stand idly by as the nation is urged to embark on an ill-conceived adventure in government, the end of which no one can seekers and from which the patient is certain to be the
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sufferer." this is typical of republicans through the generations. every time we've tried to expand health care they have aopposed it and opposed it and tried to derail it. senator milward simpson, republican of wyoming, said "i am disturbed about the effect this legislation would have upon our economy and upon our private insurance system." that's what they said about medicare. and they read horror stories. they read horror stories about it. now, here's what the republicans aren't saying. they are sthaig there i are stha problem with -- they are saying that there is a problem with the health care law, which needs to be fixed, which is that people who want to keep their substandard plans are having trouble keeping their substandard plans. now, president obama has already said he's going to fix that. there's legislation to fix that. we'll fix it.
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but that's not good enough for my republican friends. they just want to tear it down, just like they wanted to tear down medicare. more recently, they wanted to tear down medicare. so this is a not ancient histor. in 1995, dirk army, the republican house majority leader said, "medicare is a program i would have no part of in a free world." this is the republican sentiment about health care being offered to our people. the same year after leading an effort to raise premiums and costs for seniors, newt gingrich said, medicare was "going to wither on the vine." and now we have tea partiers standing there saying, hands off my medicare. okay? that's how out of touch the republicans are with where the people are. senate majority leader bob dole bragged in 1996, "i was there
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fighting the fight, voting against medicare ... because we knew it wouldn't work in 1965." and now paul ryan's budget ends medicare as we know it. so let's be clear. when you see almost the entire republican caucus come down here and try to repeal the affordable care act, this is not just stemming from today or yesterday or a glitch in the web site or a problem that we have that we have to fix about people losing their substandard plans, if they want to keep them, we'll if i can figure out a way -- we'll figure out a way to help them. notice they never said anything about the good that the affordable care act is doing for millions of people. because of the affordable care act -- mr. president, 3 million young adults are now insured on their parents' plan, yet they want to repeal the affordable care act. what's going to happen to those 3 million young adults? 71 million americans are getting
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free preventive care, like checkups, birth control, immunizations, 17 million kids with preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes can no longer be denied coverage p. so, they want to talk about people who are having a problem? we're going to fix it. we think it is about 5% of the people, but even if it's 1% we should fix it. now, yesterday we learned that in the first month of the open enrollment period 106,000 or 1.4% of consumers are going to sign up. if you look at massachusetts, during its first month -- and, mr. president, i'm sure you're aware of this, being in new jersey, close to massachusetts, only 0.3%, or 123 people signed up for coverage out of the 36er,000 who ultimately signed up in the first year. so let's be clear.
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we all wanted to see bigger numbers, but the affordable care act numbers are four times better than what massachusetts did in its first month. if you talk to the people of massachusetts, they love their health care plan. and our plan is based on their plan. by the way, a republican plan. hundreds of thousands have started the enrollment proficiency and i'll onprocess,. i'm going to go shopping and buy my plafnlt but i'm taking my time because i have some time -- until december. i am going to discuss it with my husband. we're going to decide what's best for us. i'm going to sign up. you know, i think it was the secretary sebelius who said, this isn't like buying a toaster. this is a commitment for a year, and you've got to take your time. so don't come here and tear down the affordable care act without having to put anything i in its
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place and focus on one problem that the president said he's going to fix. and we're going to fix it. things are going to pick up. i want to tell you the great news about california. just in the first two weeks of november, california's enrollment has doubled. our story is a really good one. there's a huge amount of interest in california. people are enrolling. we do have a good web site. that's important. people are finding affordable care health options. at the end of the day, when the kinks are worked out, i believe the california experience will be repeated across the country to the benefit all our families. so let me break down some of the numbers from california. we havwe are the largest state e union and we're always -- i hate to say this to my friends here -- but we're always ahead of the curve. and during the month of october, 370,000 californians began the process of signing up for private coverage or medicaid through our health insurance
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marketplace, of those, over 30,000 californians enrolled in health exchange plans and over 72,000 applied for medicaid. so let me just say, we are off to an excellent start in california. in october, there were more than 2.4 million unique visits to coveredca. in other words, this doesn't count people going back and back. unique visits. and more than 249,000 calls were made to covered california call centers, and they've got it down to just a couple of minutes wait time. to date more than 17,000 counselors, agents, county workers and others have been certified to offer in-person assistance to californians. but look, you've heard the horror stories from over there. one side of the story, people having a problem, we're going to fix the problem.
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let me tell you and quote to you what californians are saying. these are all quotes. "i enrolled on line on monday! no web site troubles! took me about 15 minutes! i'll be saving $628 a month after january 1! so grateful!" unquote. very short wait on the phone. this is another. "helpful, cheerful person to talk to. this online app is very easy. thank you." and another, "the insurance package i'm getting is more comprehensive and way cheaper than the one i've had for the last nine years. thank you for creating the marketplace and making the information more accessible and understandable." another, "i find the new coverage provisions to be amazing compared to what was out there before. many of the plans are cheaper than anything i've seen before,
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and the one i chose has zero deductible." another, "simple, straightforward and intuitive. i haven't had health insurance since 1958, so this site has made it unexpectedly easy to enroll. thank you." what we heard from the republicans is from a group of people we're going to help who have substandard plans, they don't meet the standards of the affordable care act, sometimes they're called junk plans. some of are a little better than junk. many are not there when you need them. and people, i have to say, to come down here and echo that sentiment without saying the good things that have been done is outrageous. i'd ask for two more minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: so we now know the history. we now know because i shared with you the history of the
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republican party. sad to say it, but they oppose medicare when it went in, they tried to tear it down. they still are trying to tear it down in the ryan budget. they come down here and they talk about a problem that exists that we're going to fix. they never said the president's going to fix it. he may be on the way to fixing it in moments here. but they ignore the fact that the signups are ahead of where massachusetts was at this time. so let me close. sage mcallister told me how it was helping her family. she was able to get insurance for daughter leah born with an autoimmune daughter. sage said pw-fs the affordable care act was passed she applied to eight different companies to try to get insurance but none were affordable. after the law went into effect she was able to get insurance
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for leah. she was able to get treatment for a spinal cord problem that could have resulted in paralysis. sage said without the affordable care act, my family -- and this is a quote -- "would be bankrupt and leah wouldn't have gotten the health care she needs. obama saved my family from financial ruin, said another constituent, jeanie reid. here's the deal. let's be fair. come down to the floor one after the other and give, you know, shed light on one problem we're going to fix that the president said he's going to fix and then say you're going to repeal the whole thing, you sound just like your predecessors who said medicare, terrible idea. social security, awful idea. that's what this is about. we're going to make history here. we're going to do the right thing. we're going to fix the problems. and there will be more because that's what happens when you are tackling this big issue. but at the end of the day we will be a better nation, a
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healthier nation. our children will have a brighter future. and i'm just here to say i stand with those who want progress. i'm not going to tear something down like they want to do and go right back to where we were before, with parents like these having to choose between feeding their families and giving their kids health care. thank you, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. thank you, the senator from california for telling the stories of people in california which are not unlike the stories in connecticut, an exchange that is working. a flood of people signing up way above expectations from where we originally thought the numbers would be. i thank her as well for pointing out what is the reality, which is that over 40 times republicans in the house of representatives and in the senate have voted to repeal the
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health care reform law. and even well over the last five years using over and over again this mantra of repeal and replace, they've offered absolutely no replacement. mr. president, there was a story in one of the trade publications down here this morning saying that the republicans were just going to change their strategy. that instead of piling on repeal vote after repeal vote, they were now just going to come down to the floor and use their committee chairmanships to simply criticize the law and shell for the time being their incessant efforts to try to repeal the law entirely. but make no mistake, that continues to be their intention. well, they are going to come down to the floor of the senate as they did this morning and tell a handful of anecdotes about people who are dissatisfied with the law, their true intention is to get rid of the entire law and go back to a
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world in which 30 million people in this country have no access to insurance. that if you got sick, you'd lose your insurance, a world in which insurance companies essentially set the rules of the game to the disadvantage of providers and of patients. that's what the agenda is here. to repeal the law and go back to the status quo, which is unacceptable. the highest number of uninsured citizens in the str*eulzed world -- the industrialized world, the most expensive health care system by a factor of two to all of our g-20 competitors. i get it there are people who are unhappy, and the president is going to make an announcement later today which is going to set a path forward to try to fix one of the issues with the law with respect to the canceled policies. but let me tell you a couple other stories about what the
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reality of the old system was. kyle is today about 11 years old, but when he first came into my office he was an eight-year-old living with hemophilia. kyle is an amazingly brave young man who inspires courage in his parents. but kyle has to get three to four injections a week in order to treat his hemophilia, and each one of those injections costs $3,000. now his plan prior to health care reform had a feature in it that most people didn't know was included in their health care plan. that was a lifetime cap on the amount of money that his health insurance company would pay for his care. now because kyle was mounting up bills in the tens of thousands of dollars every week, his family was going to hit that cap very quickly and then be on the hook for those $3,000 injections
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that kyle needs to take three to four times a week. that was going to bankrupt kyle's family. they thank their lucky stars that we passed this health care reform law because now their insurance has to be real insurance. it protects them against their lifetime exposure of high lifetime costs. think about the burgers from connecticut. betty and her husband had insurance their entire life except for a two week period of time when betty's husband switched jobs. during that two-week period of time their son got diagnosed with cancer. because that was then a preexisting condition her husband's new insurance plan wouldn't cover their son's treatment. their story unfortunately can be told millions of times over across this country because the burgers went bankrupt. they lost their savings. they lost their house.
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they lost everything as they mounted up huge bills to pay for their son's cancer treatments just because he got diagnosed during a two-week period of time in which their family had no health care insurance. that practice ends with the implementation of this health care law. no sick person can be denied insurance simply because of a preexisting condition, simply because a diagnosis happened to happen during a small window of time in which your family didn't have insurance. i get it that the road has been a little bumpy as we have implemented this new health care system, but it is nothing compared to the bumps that have been encountered by millions of families across this country who have been abused by a system that simply does not work. the assistant majority leader is on the floor, so let me just close by talking about connecticut's experience. if our biggest problem is that enough people who don't have
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insurance aren't signing up quick enough for insurance, that's a problem that i will accept because it's a problem we can fix. if all we're talking about here is just the pace at which people are going from uninsured to insured, then we can fix that. we can fix that because we know the product is good. senator boxer talked about the massachusetts experience in which during the first month of their enrollment for the massachusetts exchange, only .3% of the total signed up during that month. why? because people take their time. this is not an easy decision to sign up for health care. but in connecticut, where we have an exchange that's been up and running, a web site that is working, in the first month you know what our number was? it wasn't .3%. we enrolled 10% of our expected total in the first 30 days. and here's what people say about their experience with
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connecticut's exchange. one person said this is a great resource for connecticut residents to apply for health coverage. thanks to the health care law. another said i chose access health because i have been denied in the past by other carriers before this law changed. another said thank you so much for this health care law. i haven't been insured in a decade. i am so, so thankful. another said thank you for this program. i lost my job a year ago and couldn't find anything that i can afford in health coverage before this law passed. finally another said thank you. this law is helpful and appreciated. god bless america and thank you, president obama. the president is going to make an announcement that will paint a path forward for the relatively small number of americans -- 4% -- who get their insurance in the individual market, some of which have had
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their plans canceled. but the solution with respect to the timing of enrollment is not to abandon the law, as is the real agenda of people on this floor. the solution is to fix the problem so that like in connecticut, more people across this country can for the first time have access to affordable quality health care. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to thank my colleague from connecticut and my colleague from california for coming to the floor. you see, for the last hour republican senators have come to the floor and told a number of stories about individuals and the difficulties they run into with health insurance. and i don't dispute the facts that they brought to the floor, but i do dispute their characterization of what america faces at this moment in time. i supported the affordable care act. i believe it was the right thing to do. i still believe it. i'll tell you right off the bat, and most democrats and republicans would agree on this
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part. it's off to a rocky start. this web site that was supposed to be ready october 1 we're told will be ready by november 30. i hope it is and the sooner the better. i'm told it's improving by the day. that's good. americans need access to information about health insurance. and when they have that access, they can do something for many of them, for the first time in their lives, go shopping for health insurance. you know, there are a lot of people who never had that luxury. some have never had health insurance one day in their lives. others have been given a take it or leave it situation with a policy that may or may not be worth anything. i listened carefully to the republicans for a long, long time on the issue of health insurance. i've heard a lot of criticism, a lot of complaint. they want to defund obamacare. they want to delay the affordable care act. they want to destroy it. they don't have an alternative. oh, we want to repair and replace it. well, let's hear your proposal. we never heard one during the course of our debate on creating
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this law three and a half years ago. we kept waiting for the republican plan. the honest answer is they had none. apparently they still don't. the reason they don't is they fall back and say let the marketplace decide. well, many of us know the marketplace in health care personally. we know a marketplace that has turned away 40 million to 50 million people who are uninsured in america. people who still get sick, still go to the hospital, and whose bills are paid by everyone else. the republican party is supposed to be the party of responsibility and rugged individualism. what about the responsibility that we all have if we can afford it to have health insurance and as a country to provide the means for those who can't afford it so they can have protection too? that to me is responsible. trying to just stop this reform is irresponsible. when you get into the specifics on the affordable care act, you never hear a


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